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  1. #1
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    Default 60 Days Later: My Thoughts About Living in Miami

    Hi everyone!!!

    I can't believe it has already been 2 months since I moved down here. I remember when I first started doing research on Miami and the internet was full of people telling me how awful it was down here. The traffic, the drivers, the crime, the large amount of Spanish spoken, etc. Well, maybe it's a result of where I have previously lived and worked....or my openness to new experiences...but I am loving it! So I thought I would share my thoughts on all the bad things that people warned me about and my experiences in the last 60 days. And yes, I know 60 days isn't truly long enough to see everything....but nonetheless, I have formed some opinions.

    1. Miami crime: I watch the news every single morning and night. The amount of crime reported doesn't seem any worse than any other major city in the US. I live in Coral Gables and none of it really happens out here. I take precautions, like anyone should do in ANY city ANYWHERE in the US. I don't leave my car unlocked, I remove ALL valuables from my vehicle, I don't walk at night (I take the dog out at night, but I only walk in a well lit area next to Publix). Basically, I am just sensible. I guess if I moved to an area that had a higher crime rate, then this might be a different story.

    2. Miami weather: So, I actually LOVE hot, hot weather. I don't think it is summer until it hits 90-95 degrees. The only day I have thought was hot was when we hit 98 degrees last month. Now, I'm not going to run a marathon in the weather....but the limited amount I am outside doesn't bother me. I just dress appropriately and walk my dog during times of day that are a little cooler. I guess if you have some type of outdoor job, then this warning would apply. I don't, and so the weather doesn't bother me :-) Now, this might change after August LOL

    3. Miami traffic: This is traffic? Really? I drove in Bay Area traffic and Chicago traffic all the time. Honestly, the traffic here in Miami is really no big deal compared to those areas. I used to commute 4 hours a day in California, so I'm kind of immune to traffic. Regular street traffic also isn't too bad for a large city.

    4. Bad drivers: When people warned me about this I thought they meant that drivers are really aggressive, etc. This really isn't the case. Instead, it is just that people are idiots behind the wheel. I honestly have never seen such stupidity on the road before! People making u-turns in the middle of the street and then giving me the finger! LOL I'm just more aware of my surroundings, and I've switched back to my aggressive, city driving mode. I have a small car (VW Beetle) and so I can navigate pretty easily.

    5. Spanish: Yes, Spanish is spoken everywhere. However, I have yet to run into a situation where the person could not speak English (in a business). And, I actually like when they speak Spanish because I really want to learn it. Also, when I go to places like Publix they will address me in Spanish first, but when I say "hello" in English they will continue the rest of the conversation in English. So really, what is the big deal? Miami is well-known as a Spanish city...and I guess if you have a problem with that, then you shouldn't move here. You always have a choice in life (unless you're a kid). Instead of moaning about it, just adapt to it. See it as a new experience....a chance to learn a new language! I've been picking up a bit of basic conversational Spanish (and a lot of terms related to dogs - I walk my dog everyday and people always come up to him and talk in Spanish...really confuses the poor dog LOL).

    6. Cost of living: One word: California. Way more expensive than Miami! My apartment is a little pricey, but I am willing to pay that to be in a safe area. Gas is actually cheaper here than in the Midwest. Grocery store food is just a tad bit more than I was paying in the Midwest (but probably comparable to what I was paying in CA). The expensive thing is eating out. Restaurant prices are a bit high out here....and drink prices are awful. Again, I've been mainly eating in Coral Gables/S. Miami/South Beach...where everything is slightly inflated. In addition, larger cities are always more expensive than suburbs/small cities....so it's not really a shocker.

    I am really excited to be able to experience the travel opportunities that are available here! We have trips planned to the Keys, Orlando, a week long Caribbean cruise...and I'm trying to pull together a Central or South America trip. Want to explore the Gulf Coast a bit too!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Rebecca Lucente's Avatar
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    Hey Twiggers!

    Thank you so much for giving us your perspective on things. I think when people have been down here a while, they tend to get a bit jaded and forget a lot of the points you made- like that prices, traffic, etc is high in any major metropolitan area. Great idea on the day trips- there is a three day cruise as well to the bahamas that i quite enjoyed- and for me at least, it definitely was enough time on a cruise ship!
    :-)

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    Twiggers, I love this perspective. I think it'll be really valuable to other people who read this site for similar info. I'd love you to revisit this in another 3 months to see if anything's changed.

  4. #4
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    The main thing that separates Miami from other major American cities is the predominance of Spanish.

    Some non-Hispanic people have major issues with that because it unsettles them. It makes them feel like a minority.

    Other people, like yourself, find it interesting and unique and an opportunity to indulge in a foreign culture without having to leave the United States.

    The latter are the ones who end up enjoying Miami.

  5. #5
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    Hey Twiggers,
    I really enjoyed reading your views. I am coming up to a year now that I have been and I agree with all you said... moving from london to Miami makes me love everything about this crazy city. I love hot summers, the extreme weather, the bilingual nature of the place and so much more that makes Miami the love/hate city. :)

  6. #6
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    Hey twiggers! I'm so glad you're settling into Miami so well, and loving life down here. I completely second your observations. Twiggers and I coincidentally moved down to Miami the same week and we live near each other, and we seem to agree on most aspects of Miami based on her post. :D The only difference is that she is here for good and I leave for school again in a couple of weeks.

    I've noticed in particular that I love the food, I think being able to speak Spanish is extremely useful but not necessary, and even though the traffic isn't as horrible as I had imagined, the drivers are definitely lunatics.

  7. #7
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    I'm glad you all enjoyed the post!

    tere: I was planning on another update in a few months....especially after finishing out the summer and the worst danger of hurricanes (although, again, I lived in CA - earthquakes and IN - several nights spent in a basement as tornados blew through) has past. I wonder if my patience will eventually wear thin or the novelty will wear off.

    barefeet: The drivers are definitely certifiable down here. They are just idiots....I'm finding myself throwing caution to the wind and flipping some u-turns in the middle of the street, etc. I figure everyone else does it....might as well fit in LOL

    Carlos: I agree with your assessment. The Spanish language is so predominant here...much more so than major cities in California where I have visited and lived. It's an adventure though....so fun trying to gesture and understand what people are trying to say! I butcher the language, but people are so understanding and helpful anyways!

    I think I could definitely make this my permanent home. Probably choose a different area to live (closer to University; maybe the Grove or S. Miami)..but that isn't something really related to the city itself.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Rebecca Lucente's Avatar
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    really? that's interesting.. I thought the amount of Spanish speaking in Cali would be comparable, esp in SoCal. Not that I remember it being so, but it has been several years since I went there... still miss Del Taco!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebecca Lucente
    really? that's interesting.. I thought the amount of Spanish speaking in Cali would be comparable, esp in SoCal. Not that I remember it being so, but it has been several years since I went there... still miss Del Taco!
    Granted, the Mexican-American population is quite large....but the exposure to the Spanish language was primarily confined to Mexican restaurants or predominantly Hispanic areas of cities. You wouldn't go to a major grocery store like Albertson's or Ralph's and have the cashiers speaking to you in Spanish. I *think* (and this is just my personal opinion) that the majority of individuals who primarily speak Spanish (and no English) work in the fields or in labor jobs (e.g. cleaning, construction, etc.).

  10. #10
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    Hi Twiggers
    Thanks for your post which I quite enjoyed reading.

  11. #11
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    Twiggers, your experience is almost exactly like mine. I find that people who really complain about Miami do not have much experience in other places. I came from Dallas. The weather is worse. The traffic is WAY worse. The drivers are worse. I guess a lot of it just depends on your perspective.

  12. #12
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    I agree Coach. Had I grown up in middle America in a small town then my perspective would be much worse! I think that the longer you live somewhere you tend to start thinking the worst of it because it's all you know (if that makes sense). I have friends who swear Chicago traffic is just so awful....then I tell them about my CA traffic...but then friends in DC tell me that their traffic is the worst, etc.

    I guess life is really what you make it to be. I don't think Miami is heaven on earth....and it has its' faults, but so does every major city in the world! If there was a "perfect" place that everyone raved about then the whole world would be living there :-)

    Now, as I get ready to find parking around Sunset Place at 6 PM, I might start grumbling about Miami LOL

  13. #13
    Senior Member Rebecca Lucente's Avatar
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    Nice post, Twiggers- you made some solid points there.

  14. #14
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    Thanks Rebecca! And by some miracle I found a meter in front of my restaurant only a block from Sunset Place....the planets were aligned!

  15. #15
    Senior Member Rebecca Lucente's Avatar
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    YAY!!!

  16. #16
    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Hey Twiggers! Thank you so much for sharing your Miami perspective! I really enjoyed reading it. You know, I've lived here for all my life and every day I find something new. I really believe that sometimes the way the world treats us has a lot to do with how we outwardly manifest ourselves. A positive attitude is going to attract good experiences.

    By the way, South Miami does get busy on weekend evenings, but if you don't want to park in Sunset Place, there are plenty of meters on the side streets off Red Road and a garage caticorner to the Winn Dixie for $1/hour.

    Do you have any particular restaurants or places you like? Have you been to Matheson Hammock yet?

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    I'm ashamed Maria....there is so much I haven't done yet! I think it is because it is so warm during the day....so I tend to hibernate and come out at night LOL I'm waiting for fall/winter to do more outdoor things.

    We've found a couple restaurants that we like (Randazzo's, Sports Exchange, Yardhouse)...but my husband is only here a couple days a month....so we haven't done much exploring.

    I think he'll be moving down in September....so we'll start doing more exploring then!

  18. #18
    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Don't be ashamed, Twiggers! I go into vampire mode in the summer too. I only come out at sunset. :-)

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